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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Good news, bad news on college textbooks.

The good news is that UC Davis chemistry professor Delmar Larsen has worked hard to establish free open-access e-textbooks for hisclasses.  Maybe a few members of the US college system are starting to focus on bringing down the cost of college.

The bad news is that America’s subsidized colleges have delayed the open-access movement by years because of a lack of push back by students.  Too many college students lack any immediate price signal where they perceive they are spending today’s money on a college education. The price of textbooks gets mentally lumped in with the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars of college student debt that will have to be paid back sometime in the distant future.

As a result: “New college textbook prices soared 82 percent from 2002 to 2012, at the same time that tuition and fees rose 89 percent, according to a U.S. Government Accounting Office report released in June.”

We need more radical thinking and action like that of Professor Larsen!